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3d rendered image of the Main entrance to the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Windsor Boys School Hamm
Germany Virtual Tour

Originally a barracks called Argonner Kaserne on Soester Straße, Hamm, Nordrhein-Westfalen and built in 1937/38, the British took control and renamed it Brixton Camp. At first the camp housed German and Austrian POW's and then went on to be the base for the Polish 61st Tank Transporter Unit.

In 1953 Brixton Camp reopened as Windsor School which was a mixed boarding school and stayed that way until 1959 when it became the male only Windsor Boys School (WBS). The nearby Newcastle Barracks opened up as Windsor Girls School (WGS).In 1981 WBS became mixed again and then finally closed its gate in 1983.

Sign saying All visitors please report to the Watchman at Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany

Remains of the Dining Block in 2020

Remains of the Dining Block. (2020)
Photograph courtesy of Chris Brooking

After seeing images online showing the remains of Windsor Boys School / Windsor school in Hamm, like many others that went to the school between 1953 and 1983 there was a disappointment that it won't be there anymore. I never really had the chance to go back to Hamm and have a look at the old buildings and always thought they would have been converted into apartments or something else. No chance of that and all that was left in 2020 was a pile of debris from the Dining block.

I have a keen interest in 3D modelling so it was time to bring the school back to life and show the buildings and grounds as they would have been during that 30 year span. 

Thanks to the kind and knowledgeable members of the Windsor Boys and Windsor Girls School FB groups there were many old photographs and even a floor plan of the entire grounds to use for reference.

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Revisit the School

Created over two years, the final virtual tour consists of 39 X 360 degree images of various locations throughout the school grounds. Included in the tour are popup image galleries displaying personal photographs from both pupils and teachers who have kindly allowed the photographs to be displayed outside the Facebook groups. A full list of the owners can be found on the tours Credits page.

3d rendered image of the swimming pool at the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Swimming Pool

3d rendered image of the view from the fire escape at the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Woodwork/Metalwork/Sports Hall

3d rendered image of the old shooting range at the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Old shooting range and Garden

3d rendered image of the dining block at the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Dining Hall

3d rendered image of the Chapel St Boniface at the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Chapel St Boniface

3d rendered image of the old stables area at the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Old stables area

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Let the Windsor Project grow

Your contribution, regardless of its scale, is deeply valued. No PayPal account is required.


The success, advancement, and momentum of the Windsor School project thrive on the kind-hearted backing of individuals like yourself, who graciously contribute donations to empower me in dedicating more time to its growth. Your contribution, regardless of its scale, is deeply valued.

Making a donation will also help contribute towards the additional bandwidth charges and keep the tour online so you can return anytime.

If direct support isn't feasible for you, there's no need to worry. Sharing the project with your friends and providing your valuable insights already make not only a significant impact in sustaining the project's vibrancy but also its accuracy.

Current Projects

Remodelling of the original tour 

Since the first 360-degree tour of the school grounds was launched in July 2022, detailed photographic documentation spanning from the 1950s to the early 1980s has been graciously received. These archival materials afford a substantially enhanced view of the school's layout and intricate features that can used as reference while remodelling and re texturing.

There may be minor differences throughout the years as new buildings were either added or removed. 

Remodelling of the original tour

Female dormitory in the 1960s

Working with Pamela Ross to recreate a 6-bed dormitory from the 1960s

Female 6 bed dormitory by Cicada Studio

Female 6 bed dormitory by Cicada Studio

Female 6 bed dormitory by Cicada Studio

Female 6 bed dormitory by Cicada Studio

Female 6 bed dormitory by Cicada Studio

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The Interiors

1st / 2nd year dormitory

A 360-degree view of the first and second-year dormitory in Balmoral House. The model was based on the original image below taken in 1979 when there were 8 boarders in the dorm. The view out of the window looked down to the cobblestone road that led to the old stables area.

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St Boniface Chapel

Two 360-degree views inside the St Boniface Chapel. One in the main area and the other up on the 6th-form balcony.

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The Hall

Three 360-degree views inside the Hall. 

Thanks to Tim Feast and William Oxford for their detailed memories of the hall in the 1960's. Jack's Union rehearsal was recorded by Tim Feast on a 3" spool recorder at the back of the hall back in 67/68. Click on the camera icon when viewing the 360 image to open the popup window containing images and audio player.

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The Bedford SB3 Bus

A 360-degree view of the Bedford SB3 bus interior.  

The scene is 'Returning to Windsor School'.


Rge interior of a Bedford SB3 bus by Cicada Studio

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The 1970s

Set up in the middle of the front field at Windsor School, a total of 8 tables displaying items from the 1970s.

Items include 

Sony TC 377 tape deck, Mercedes Benz 300 SEL, Honda CB 750 F Super Sport 1970, Datsun Bluebird 510 wagon,  Bedford SB3 Bus, JVC 3070 Radio TV Cassette Recorder, Pentax K1000 Camera, Eumig Mark S 807 Projector, Technics Sl 1210 MK2 Turntable, Dr Marten boots, rotary telephone, .303 rifle, Prinzenrolle biscuits, Tupperware container, Apple II computer, Sony TPS-L2 Walkman, Vinyl Record covers, Deutsche Mark currency, cassette tapes, Famous Five books and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, Great Universal catalogue, Trump Cards, Nash Shark Skateboard with metal wheels, Rolex Submariner watch from 1974,  Etch A Sketch, Rubiks Cube,  Meccano Pieces, Space 1999 Eagle Transporter, IBM Selectric II Typewriter, Raleigh Chopper bicycle, Dandy Beano and Mandy books, Sesame Street Pinball Number Count, ER Service School exercise book, 3D View-Master, Storm Troopers, Star Destroyer, TIE Fighter, X-wing starfighter, Space Invaders arcade cabinet, Doctor Who Tardis and Darlek.

Don't forget to look all around, up and down  :-)

Click the button below

3d rendered image of 1970s items by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of 1970s items by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of 1970s items by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of 1970s items by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of 1970s items by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of 1970s items by Cicada Studio

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Balmoral House Photograph

A high-resolution scan of the Balmoral House photograph taken in 1978 at Windsor Boys School.

Click the button below and then use the controls to zoom in and out, and to drag the image around. If you are viewing on a touch screen then use the pinch method to zoom in and out and drag with your finger.

Balmoral House photograph taken in 1978 at Windsor Boys School Hamm

Balmoral House photograph taken in 1978 at Windsor Boys School Hamm




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Windsor Boys School RAF Cadets.

Photograph taken in 1978 at RAF Gütersloh, Germany.

Click the button below to view the photograph and then use the controls to zoom in and out, and to drag the image around. If you are viewing on a touch screen then use the pinch method to zoom in and out and drag with your finger.

Windsor Boys School RAF Cadets with a Wessex helicopter in the background. Photograph taken in 1978 at RAF Gütersloh, Germany


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Windsor Boys School RAF Cadets.

Photograph taken in 1979 at RAF Gütersloh, Germany.

Click the button below to view the photograph and then use the controls to zoom in and out, and to drag the image around. If you are viewing on a touch screen then use the pinch method to zoom in and out and drag with your finger.

Windsor Boys School RAF Cadets with a Harrier in the background. Photograph taken in 1979 at RAF Gütersloh, Germany


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Project timeline and updates

Still to do

  • Female Dormitory in 1979

  • Female Dormitory in 1966

  • Ongoing Requests

16th December, 2023

Completed the 3 X 360-degree views inside the hall.

The hall at Windsor Boys School, Hamm Germany.

18th October, 2023

Balmoral House Photograph

A high-resolution scan of the Balmoral House photograph taken in 1978 at Windsor Boys School.

high-resolution scan of the Balmoral House photograph taken in 1978 at Windsor Boys School.

high-resolution scan of the Balmoral House photograph taken in 1978 at Windsor Boys School.

12th October, 2023

RAF Cadets

Added 2 scanned images of the Windsor Boys School RAF Cadets taken in 1978 and 1979. Both images you are able to zoom in and out.

Windsor Boys School RAF Cadets. Photograph taken in 1979 at RAF Gütersloh, Germany.

29th August, 2023

St Boniface Chapel interior is completed

The interior of the St Boniface Chapel at Windsor School Hamm.

15th August, 2023

1st/2nd year dormitory is completed

Reference image of the first years dormitory at Windsor School Hamm.

27 July, 2023

The Bedford SB3 bus is completed

Uploaded the 360-degree image created inside the Bedford SB3 bus.

The scene is 'Returning to Windsor School'.

360-degree image inside the Bedford SB3 bus by Cicada Studio

25 July, 2023

The 1970s 360 degree image is completed

The 360-degree image is located in the middle of the front field at Windsor School. Total of 8 tables displaying items from the 1970s, along with things around and in the air :-)

The 1970s at Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

24 January, 2023

Added images

Just added another 80 images to the various tour pages, including several to the Assembly Hall area as it was lacking in live bands and socials. To date, there's a total of 277 images of students, teachers & staff displayed near the location the pictures were taken. Thanks to the Facebook groups and also the non-Facebook users that sent emails with attachments.

I'm still on the lookout for more if they become available. If you have any negatives or slides of WBS (any year) that will probably end up in the bin during clearouts or downsizing, please send them over and I can scan and restore them if needed. Even printed photographs that you may have no need for anymore, let me get them up on the tour so everyone can see them.

Please get in touch to let me know what you have and for my postal address.

10 September, 2022

Swimming Pool

Added two new images of the swimming pool taken in the 60s.

3 September, 2022

Speech Day, 18th July 1959

A new popup page was created to show the Speech Day program that was kindly donated by John Rayner. This can be found via the movie camera link located in the middle of the front sports fields. Previously this link just showed the move clip.

13 July, 2022

Self-guided tours are now open

The virtual tour goes live.

The virtual tour of Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio goes live

26 May, 2022

Thanks to all the people that got in touch and I'm happy there's a great deal of interest out there.

The project has been on and off over the past several months due to home and work commitments, plus I just recently acquired 3 more photographs that changed the look of a few areas so I had to get back in and redo the modeling.

This picture of Padre Stuart Brindley shows the gravel area in the background is a lot larger than what I had originally modeled. I also misplaced the last two tree's at the end of the path. A bit OTT I'll agree but may as well get it as true to life as possible ;-)

Rendering has started again from scratch and the current count is 15 X 360 degree renders. I also upped the size of each render to 16,000px X 8000px to get the extra detail.

Padre Stuart Brindley at Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

December, 2021

I put the main project on hold as I wanted to make a winter scene based on the this image I found online showing a sunset.

Working out the direction of the shot, it was either taken from the fire escape or one of the windows up in Block 5 which was Caernarvon so I went with the window scene and included items from 1979 / 1980.

You can view the full-size version here and this one allows you to zoom in and out and listen to the recorded audio track of 'Sounds Like Sunday' on the BFBS Radio show.

Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany in the snow by Cicada Studio goes live

View the image

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A 'before and after' of the school.

A before and after of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany

A before and after of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany

When the 360-degree images load, you can look around in all directions.
Drag the slider left or right to switch to the before or after view. 

The modern view is from Google Earth

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The Modelling

The modelling starts with Block 5A, Balmoral and Edinburgh houses.

The first stage of modeling BlocK 5A at the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany

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Images of the basic 3D model

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d rendered image of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

Wire Frame Views

3d wireframe views of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d wireframe views of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d wireframe views of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d wireframe views of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d wireframe views of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio

3d wireframe views of the Windsor Boys School Hamm Germany by Cicada Studio


Renders -


Testing various vegetation.

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany


Experimental Renders

Mist, rain, lighting and more types of vegetation.

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

3d test renders of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

Wireframe view of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

Wireframe View

Wireframe view of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

Shaded View

Wireframe view of Windsor Boys School Hamm, Germany

Rendered View

    Doc Marten Boots

    ** New content for the tour **

    I'm still on the lookout for more images. If you have any negatives or slides of WBS (any year) that will probably end up in the bin during clearouts or downsizing, please send them over and I can scan and restore them if needed. Even printed photographs that you may have no need for anymore, let me get them up on the tour so everyone can see them.

    Please get in touch using the contact form below and I'll get back to you with a link for you to upload any digital files. If it's negative, slides or prints you have then I can pass on my mailing address.


    Doc Marten Boots

    CONCORDIA

    The Windsor Schools
    Hamm 1953–1983

    Stephen Green
    2023

    a history of the Windsor Schools in Hamm, West Germany

    Introduction Page

    This is a history of the Windsor Schools in Hamm, West Germany, run by the British Families Education Service. The school started in 1953 as a mixed secondary boarding school; in 1959 the school divided into boys’ and girls’ schools. In 1981 they remerged and closed in 1983. They were schools of the Cold War.

    The emphasis in that opening sentence is “a history.” Around 16,000 pupils, over 900 teachers and several thousand administrative and ancillary workers engaged with the schools. For some it was only a few weeks; for others over 20 years, for a few nearly 30 years. Most pupils and teachers were British. Americans, Maltese, Canadians, Indians, Jamaicans, Pakistanis, and many other nationalities played a part. Most of the administration and ancillary employees were German. Every one of the 20,000+ people will have their own memories and view of their time at Hamm. A single volume cannot hope to capture all their moments, all their memories and emotions or all their views. At best it can try to record and analyse key events, activities, and people.

    The story of the schools covers a wide spectrum. The internal life of a boarding school, with a close relationship both with the British military in West Germany and the city of Hamm, dominates. The schools were not immune from the fluctuating Anglo-German relations during the post-war Allied occupation and then NATO partnership. Britain´s wavering economic fortunes and military strategies played their part. At their core the schools, along with the other BFES schools, were an element of the Armed Forces recruit and retain policy during the Cold War.

    The period from the early 1950s to the early 1980s saw considerable changes in society and its culture. It might be a time worn expression but L. P. Hartley´s well-known sentence is apt nonetheless: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Historians of the period, Peter Hennessey, David Kynaston, Andy Beckett, and Dominic Sandbrook highlight the changes in British society from a time of deference through the “Swinging Sixties” up to the more individualistic 1980s. The schools reflected these changes.

    Boarding schools hold a special place, not always positive, in the British way of life. Books, television series and films have given readers and audiences a multiplicity of views. “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” (1857) introduced the basic building blocks of being away from home and parents; the rough and tumble of life (Flashman the bully) and the sporting prowess to success. Above all the Rugby School of the time brought out the development of a true Victorian Muscular Christian gentleman. “Goodbye Mr Chips” looks at a school over time, before, during and after the First World War, through the eyes of a teacher from his naïve inexperienced start to the fondly remembered mentor of many pupils over the years. The exploits of “Billy Bunter” highlight the humour and comradeship inherent in boarding. “If…, the Lindsay Anderson film, takes a decidedly negative stance with its anarchic and subversive approach to hierarchy, discipline, petty rules, and resistance to change. It is noticeable that all of these were boy´s schools. Girl´s boarding schools were less common but as the “St Trinians” books and films show girls could be just as naughty, imaginative, subversive, and bold as any boy’s school. Life in girl´s boarding schools, especially in “prep” schools, was recently covered in “Terms and Conditions. Life in Girls ‘Boarding Schools 1939–79’ by Ysenda Maxtone Graham. In the last twenty years or so books have featured what might be termed the “dark side” of boarding schools. The issue of “boarding school syndrome” has been put forward, reflecting the long term psychological effects of boarding. More books have covered sexual abuse, others the influence Public Schools have on public life and politics.

    The global phenomenon of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter saga has brought the British boarding school to a whole new audience. Hogwarts with its benevolent but firm Headmaster, the friendly, and sometimes not so friendly, teachers, the rivalry between the houses (and indeed the concept of houses) and the importance of sporting success at Quidditch brings together in a magical setting many of the inherent aspects of boarding schools. It was not just for jumping on a bandwagon that academics contributed to “Harry Potter and International Relations,” using the stories to explore identity, international sport, educational theories and many other topics.

    The literary world exaggerates, dramatizes, and invents for its effect. But throughout the wide range of novels, plays and films, elements of reality can be discerned. The 20,000 plus people associated with the Windsor Schools can see through the literary conceits. Many pupils became grateful for the inspirational teacher who steered them towards their career, their personal development, and their outlook on life. Others, a minority, can recall the over-strict teacher, petty regulations, or the bullies. Teachers who overlapped for only a few years of their careers hold reunions decades later. Alumni societies have existed in the UK, Australia, Canada, and USA. Even today, four decades since the school closed, Facebook hosts six, closed, groups with well over a thousand active members.

    The literary world of boarding schools provides a guide to the concept and structure of a boarding school. They differ in many respects from the normal “day” school. Boarding schools are a closed community, physically and often emotionally. The buildings are almost always old. “Exeats”, permission to leave the school premises, are tightly controlled. Pupils, in our case from 11 to 18, are away from home and their parents. Teachers, and matrons, have a pastoral as well as academic function. They operate on a 24-hour cycle: classes may end around 4 in the afternoon but the school life continues; there is no respite nor privacy. A school’s ethical and moral culture is given high importance; religion (or at least the chapels) plays a more visible role than in day schools. Sporting prowess is admired, at times even more than academic success. Pupils live in “houses”: defined physical areas under the leadership of a housemistress/housemaster (a senior teacher) with a matron in charge of housekeeping. Houses compete incessantly, at sports and at various competitions invented for the purpose. Loyalty is often stronger to the house than to the school, certainly within the school itself. Inside the house pupils live in the “dorm”: dormitories. From eight to ten sharing in the junior year and gradually becoming less crowded as the pupil moves through the ages until at the senior levels often a dorm of just two and in rarer cases a single room. Washing facilities are shared. Discipline and rules are mostly unwritten but defined and controlled. There is a hierarchy of punishments, and an associated hierarchy of who can administer them. Senior pupils are given responsibility, again in a hierarchy. There are two grades, monitor (or assistant) and prefect again at two levels, house and school. Above them with varying responsibilities are the Head Girls and Head Boys of houses and of the school.

    The schools functioned in four areas. The academic covered subjects to be taught, their levels and examinations. The senior mistress/master or the deputy headmistress/master took the lead role with the heads of subject departments. The pastoral function was led by the house mistresses/masters, supported by assigned duty teaching staff, with the matron as the housekeeping lead. Chaplains played their part. The social side of the school was covered by sports and by a wide range of groups and societies turning hobbies into formalised activity. The administrative function of the school is often overlooked despite it employing the most people. Led by the bursar, the administrative and ancillary staff covered a wide range of tasks from the offices, supplies, catering, cleaning, the sick bays, the upkeep of the sports fields and buildings, and the tuck shop.

    The idea of boarding schools and school education in general were, during the lifetime of the Windsor Schools, a subject of intense debate. Overwhelmingly boarding schools were outside the state education system. They were private, parents paying an often very high fee, and in a term often misleading for many, called “Public Schools”. Their alumni occupied a disproportionate ratio of senior roles in politics, in the civil and diplomatic services, the judiciary and the media. (Even in the 2020s they still maintain this position). Pupils were at the schools for the status they bestowed, for the contacts and the “attitude.” It was a “career choice” made for them by their parents.

    The Windsor Schools were different. Pupils were there simply as a side-effect of their fathers´ (rarely their mothers´) occupation. Attendance became compulsory if there was no suitable day school close enough to their father’s military base in West Germany and some neighbouring countries (and for most it was prohibitively expensive to send children to UK Public Schools)

    In the mid-1960s boarding schools were intensively reviewed by Royston Lambert of Kings College, Cambridge. His most famous and influential study, “The Hothouse Society”, was the first to look at schools from the pupils’ perspective. He and his team visited 66 boarding schools in the UK, listening to pupils not staff. He later visited the Hamm schools Regretfully he did not include his evidence from Hamm in the book. His sociological approach to boarding education throws a sharp light many aspects; it has been influential in the writing of this book, notably by using pupils´ own words.

    Royal Commissions, considerable review literature and political arguments ranged over the public school arena. In parallel the education sector was wrestling with the ground-breaking 1944 Education Act. It did not specify a particular form of secondary school but local authorities introduced a three-tier system of secondary education from age 11 to, initially, 15 (Grammar, Modern and Technical). Educationalists and politicians were proposing (and opposing) a new system before this structure had settled down. In practice it became a two tier system as relatively few technical schools were built. The 1960s saw a move towards the “comprehensive” system with all three streams in one, larger, school with the famous Department of Education Circular 10/65. The Windsor Schools (along with the two other BFES boarding schools, Prince Rupert in Wilhelmshaven and King Alfred in Plön) found themselves early pioneers in this comprehensive format.

    The schools had external and interlocking factors to contend with. The high level geo-political context impacted on the schools in various ways. When the school opened in 1953 the UK was still an occupation power over Germany, with extensive authority. The British Families Education Service, formed in 1946 and responsible for the schooling of children of Service personnel in West Germany, and already running two secondary boarding schools in West Germany, was expanding. Its expenditure in Deutsche Marks was paid from “occupation funds” from the German government. From 1955 the British military role changed to being an invited member of a NATO partner. A consequence was the slow phasing out of the occupation funds giving a financial headache to the British government, the military in Germany and to the BFES schools.

    The UK itself, despite a growing economy from the mid-1950s, (although nowhere near as fast as the German economy) was in serious economic trouble for most of the period of the school’s history. There was a chronic shortage of foreign exchange. Successive reviews of the military, as the Cold War developed and military strategy and tactics evolved, resulted in a common thread: a reduction and rationalisation of troops and airfields. These strategic decisions wound their way to impact on the schools. In the end they contributed (but were not the final reason) to the closure of the schools.

    Most of the primary records of the schools have disappeared. No daily log books at school or house level (just a single one for the primary school) and only a couple of BFES annual reports. Two long out of print books cover the organisational history: Lt Col St John Williams, a former senior officer in the Army Education Service, in Tommy Atkins´ Children (1971), covers worldwide schooling for army children from 1675 to 1870. More recently in 2008, Paul Macardle wrote The History of Service Children´s Education in Germany 1947–2007. Both are very useful for the administrative background and context to BFES. The online availability of Cabinet papers and Mrs Thatcher’s papers enables an updating of both books. The alumni association of Prince Rupert School published an excellent history of their school, mostly though the recollections of alumni. Now also unavailable. Most of the books on BAOR focus on the military and geo-political aspects. The best coverage of the life of troops, families and children in BAOR is in Roy Bainton´s The Long Patrol (2003) which includes a chapter on children, including memories of one former Windsor pupil in the 1950s.

    I have made extensive use of the school magazines, Concordia and Ambassador, various school pamphlets and recollections from former pupils and staff. There is a guide to the main sources at the end. I dislike footnotes in non-academic books!

    This book is in two parts. Part A is a narrative story of the schools. The opening chapter poses the core question: why did British children in West Germany need schools? The following chapter looks at the formation of the British Families Education Service, the opening of the first two boarding schools and the decision to open Windsor School. Chapter 3 covers the preparations prior to the opening of the school in November 1953 and takes us back to the 1930s German re-armament. Subsequent chapters take roughly a decade each and are marked by the changing headmistresses and headmasters who had a considerable degree of autonomy within the schools. In Chapters 4 to 6 we see the operation of the school, which served as a template for the remainder of the schools’ history. Chapter 7 looks at the division into two schools in 1959, Windsor Boys´ School and Windsor Girls´ School. Chapters 7 to 11 continue the story of the two schools though the 1960s and 1970s to their remerger in 1981 and closure in 1983.

    Part B takes a different approach. It is a series of self-contained thematic chapters and does not need to be read sequentially. It is more granular, exploring themes in detail. The final chapter offers some reflections.

    A note on style and language; both have changed since the school closed in 1983, let alone from its opening in 1953. I have used the styles of the period: headmistress and headmaster not head teacher (and certainly not the terrible CEO now in vogue in schools), pupils not students. Teachers are Miss, Mrs and Mr.

    I have been helped in writing this history by many former pupils and teachers. I list them in the acknowledgements; I hope I have not omitted or misrepresented anyone in error. To all of them I record my thanks.